Google Chrome - Initial Thoughts

Like most of the techy part of the Internet I dutifully downloaded Google Chrome today and had a little play around. And just like all those other people I’m going to write about it. The difference is I’m very ambivalent about the whole thing.

Chrome seems nice enough. It’s quick, works with all the websites I’ve tried so far and does have a killer feature - the task manager. Finally breaking tabs out in to their own sandbox is an idea whos time should have come years ago. Being able to see which sites are doing hugely evil things with my memory is a wonderful thing. I’m also inappropriately happy with the in-page search showing how many matches it found.

Unfortunately that’s about it. While the minimal design and streamlined core functionality are lovely, these days I’m used to my extensions - the web developer toolbar, YSlow and the work flow changing Ubiquity are just too useful for me to give up.

It’s not just the fact that these extensions are missing that puts me off, it’s the lack of how to write custom extensions, searches etc. that feels wrong. Firefox is a platform as much as a web browser. Using Chrome what is the command line for pulling out the memory usage for the currently opened tabs? Do I need to screen scrape a running about:memory? I can’t help but think they’d have three Firefox versions ready for download by now.

So will I be moving over to the new and shiny? Not yet. As useful as the broken out tabs are I need more functionality than Chrome can give me, so while I might use it for some day to day surfing it’s no where near ready for me as a developer. Although I;m guessing they never intended for it to be.